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United target Roma centre-back Benatia

Miguel Delaney | ESPN FC
August 13, 2014
Rojo hands in transfer request

Manchester United are turning their interest to Roma centre-back Mehdi Benatia as Louis van Gaal remains determined to bring in defensive reinforcements before the Premier League kicks off on Saturday, sources have told ESPN.

Van Gaal wants to sign at least two out of three current defensive targets - Ajax's Daley Blind, Sporting Lisbon's Marcos Rojo and now Benatia, although Chelsea retain a tentative interest for the Roma defender. Benatia would cost around £30 million.

Mehdi Benatia would likely cost Manchester United around £30 million © AP

Sources have also said Van Gaal is getting increasingly impatient about the lack of transfer activity. Although Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera arrived this summer, both of the deals were effectively finalised last season, meaning there have been no real new buys since the campaign ended.

Van Gaal did sign off on those two players, but he expected to have the majority of United's business done by Friday - the day before they face Swansea at Old Trafford to open the new campaign.

He was said to be particularly agitated at the failure to complete a deal for new Barcelona signing Thomas Vermaelen, given that United for a long time believed his arrival was virtually assured.

There is also frustration over the Arturo Vidal saga, although it is understood Juventus have proven difficult to even discuss terms with due to the ructions caused at the Italian club by the departure of Antonio Conte. United remain interested in Vidal, as well as Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria, but the latter still prefers a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

United are also prepared to go back to Sporting and renew interest in William Carvalho if they fail to bring in Vidal, although they may yet face competition from Arsenal. Van Gaal remains a huge admirer of Kevin Strootman too.

A club source states that the very sudden interest in Rojo recalls the latter stages of last summer's window for United, given the Argentine defender's name had not been mentioned much as regards the market in the previous few weeks. However, that could also be down to the fact that Van Gaal does not want to waste time, and expects quick movement once he makes decisions.

So far, that has not been the case.

This article originally appeared on ESPN FC

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